Today (December 14th) is World Monkey Day – a time to celebrate these precious primates, and to highlight the threats they face. It was set up back in 2000 by two artists eager to draw attention to the monkey and it soon caught on. Now it is celebrated all over the world with fancy-dress parties, art shows and general monkeying around. So in honour of our close relatives on the evolutionary tree, here are some things you may or may not know about monkeys.
- Monkeys come in a variety of sizes. The mandrill weighs approximately 35kg and the pygmy marmoset about 100g
- Monkeys are very intelligent. Most species use tools and some appear to be self-aware
- To tell whether a primate is a monkey or an ape, look for a tail – all monkeys have one but apes don’t
- All monkeys are social animals. They live in groups known as ‘troops’. Keeping monkeys alone would harm their mental health
- We have discovered 264 different monkey species – 96 live in Africa or Asia and the rest are found in South America
- Spider monkeys have strong tails which they use as a safety-line. They grip branches with their tail and, if they fall, it will support their weight and stop them from plummeting to the ground
- Howler monkeys are appropriately named – their calls can carry over distances of up to 3 miles!
- Monkeys have been used as substitute humans in many experiments. About 65,000 monkeys a year are used for medical testing in the USA alone
- In 1948 the first monkey to go into space was launched on a V2 rocket. It died during the flight
- Due to loss of habitat, almost a half of monkey species are under threat of extinction
If you love monkeys and would like to help them, then please take a look at Wild Futures. They are a UK-based charity whose aim is to protect primates all over the world.
Happy Monkey Day from all of us here at Education Quizzes!